|Publication number||US6953405 B2|
|Application number||US 10/367,907|
|Publication date||Oct 11, 2005|
|Filing date||Feb 19, 2003|
|Priority date||Feb 19, 2002|
|Also published as||US20030216197, WO2003070334A1|
|Publication number||10367907, 367907, US 6953405 B2, US 6953405B2, US-B2-6953405, US6953405 B2, US6953405B2|
|Inventors||Laura E. LeMire, Kenneth E. Sherman|
|Original Assignee||Stx, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (56), Referenced by (3), Classifications (9), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/357,143, filed Feb. 19, 2002, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to field hockey sticks, and more particularly, to field hockey sticks having vibration damping characteristics.
2. Background of the Invention
In the game of field hockey, a field hockey stick is used to hit, push, or lift a hard ball that is usually made of a hard plastic, such as PVC. When the field hockey stick strikes the ball, a significant vibration occurs. Near the top of the handle of the stick, this vibration can generate a stinging or “buzz” in a player's hands. Although a grip on the handle of the stick can help lessen this sting, the vibration is still uncomfortable.
Field hockey sticks are typically made of a wood or composites. As used herein, composites refer to field hockey sticks made by wrapping sheets of uncured fiber-reinforced thermosetting resin around a mandrel, which is then withdrawn to form a hollow tubular layup. Examples of the materials used in the resin include fiberglass, carbon, and aramid. Composite sticks have been available on the market for over five years and have been approved for use in international play for over a year. Nonetheless, many players still prefer to use wood sticks because of a perceived better “feel” for the ball. This superior feel is partly attributable to the natural flexure and damping characteristics of wood. Compared to composite sticks, the traditional wood sticks are less stiff, thereby absorbing more vibration and affording a better feel for controlling the ball. Composite sticks, on the other hand, are generally stiffer and offer less feel because of increased vibration.
It is widely believed, however, that the increased stiffness of composite sticks offers an advantage over wood sticks in terms of power. Increased stiffness generates more powerful drives. Thus, with composite field hockey sticks, there is a tradeoff between increased power from stiffness and decreased feel from the vibration that the stiffness causes. Minimizing all or a sufficient portion of this vibration in a composite stick would therefore result in players delivering a powerful drive without experiencing more vibration than players have become accustomed to with wood field hockey sticks.
Therefore, field hockey sticks, especially those made of composite materials, would benefit greatly from a reduction in the vibration that can occur upon contact with a ball.
The present invention provides a field hockey stick that significantly reduces the vibrations that occur upon striking a ball. According to a preferred embodiment, the field hockey stick includes a shaft having a vibration damper disposed in its end opposite the head. The vibration damper includes a core and a jacket surrounding the core. The core material has a higher specific gravity (or density) than the jacket material. Preferably, the damper is placed within approximately the top six inches of the end of the field hockey stick handle, and more preferably, at the top of the handle.
In operation, the high density core oscillates within the jacket, and cancels out some or all of the vibration caused by the impact of the stick with a ball or other object. The jacket acts as a transfer agent, providing the appropriate medium needed to allow the core to vibrate. As a result, the vibrations of the field hockey stick diminish, allowing a player to, enjoy improved comfort and feel.
According to an embodiment of the present invention, a field hockey stick is provisioned with a vibration damper. The vibration damper is composed of, for example, a high density core covered in a silicone “jacket.” For maximum benefit, the damper is preferably placed within approximately the top six inches of the end of the field hockey stick shaft, corresponding to the location at which a player holds the stick. To fit the damper properly in the end of the stick, the damper is sized to fit securely in the handle without compressing or only slightly compressing the silicone. The high density core, preferably with a specific gravity in the range of approximately 7.0 to approximately 12.0, oscillates within the silicone, effectively canceling out or negating some or all of the vibration caused by the impact of the stick with a ball or other object. The silicone acts as a transfer agent, providing the appropriate medium needed to allow the core to vibrate.
To accommodate a typical field hockey stick, in a specific implementation of vibration damper 106, core 200 is substantially cylindrical, with a diameter of approximately 12 mm and a length of approximately 20.4 mm. Jacket 202 is also substantially cylindrical, with a diameter of approximately 19 mm and a length of approximately 27 mm.
To provide the desired vibration damping, core 200 preferably has a higher specific gravity than jacket 202. In a specific implementation, core 200 weighs approximately 22.5 g and jacket 202 weighs approximately 6.2 g, making the weight of vibration damper 106 approximately 28.7 g. In a preferred embodiment, jacket 202 is made of silicone having a specific gravity of approximately 1.1 and core 200 is made of a plastic composite, such as Thermocomp™ HSG-P-1000A, produced by LNP Engineering Plastics Inc. of Exton, Pa. Thermocomp™ HSG-P1000 A has a specific gravity of approximately 10.0 and a Rockwell hardness (M scale) of approximately 80.0. Alternatively, core 200 could be made of any material or combination of materials having a specific gravity of approximately 7.0 to approximately 12.0, such as metal, metal composites, plastic-metal composites, plastics, and plastic composites. Likewise, as an alternative to silicone, jacket 202 could be made of any material or combination of materials having an appropriate specific gravity, such as rubber, foam, and thermoplastics. In some instances, these material options may be precluded by the game rules of certain field hockey governing bodies.
As shown generally in
In addition to the interference fit provided by compressible jacket 202, a further embodiment of the present invention supports vibration damper 106 with the interior structure of shaft 104 that is adjacent to cavity 108. In the case of a solid shaft 104, such as with a wood field hockey stick, vibration damper 106 can be pushed to the bottom of cavity 108 so that vibration damper 106 rests on the solid center 300 of the shaft 104 shown in FIG. 3. In the case of a composite shaft, as shown in
In a further embodiment of the present invention, vibration damper 106 is held in place within cavity 108 using an adhesive between jacket 202 and the wall of cavity 108. In another embodiment, a mechanical fastener holds vibration damper 106 in place within cavity 108. In another embodiment, vibration damper 106 rests on another material placed within cavity 108. For example, vibration damper 106 could rest on a foam plug disposed in the bottom of cavity 108. In another embodiment, in the case of completely hollow shaft (e.g., without a rib), a foam plug could be inserted into the hollow shaft to create the bottom of cavity 108.
Thus, the vibration damping field hockey stick of the present invention provides a player with improved comfort, feel, and playability. In addition, when applied to a composite stick, the present invention minimizes the discomfort from vibration associated with increased power. To maximize these benefits, the core 200 and jacket 202 of vibration damper 106 are sized, configured, and constructed from materials best suited for a particular field hockey stick, based on, for example, the size, weight, geometry, and material of the stick. Preferably, the vibration damper has a natural vibrational frequency equal to the natural vibrational frequency of the particular stick. Achieving these equivalent frequencies involves varying, for example, the size, shape, mass, and material of the core 200 and jacket 202 of vibration damper 106.
Referring again to
Tests conducted on an exemplary vibration damping field hockey stick of the present invention have shown improvements in vibrational performance in comparison to traditional undamped field hockey sticks. Specifically, the present invention provides a significant reduction in the high-frequency vibration of the field hockey stick shaft that results upon striking a ball and contributes to user discomfort. In addition, time histories of vibration following excitation have confirmed the effectiveness of the vibration damper in reducing the overall level and duration of vibration.
In the experiments, a field hockey stick was suspended vertically between two relatively rigid vertical steel supports with a piece of piano wire about six inches from the top of the shaft. An accelerometer (Crossbow±4 g model) was attached below the top of the shaft and connected, through appropriate electronics, to an Ono Sokki™ spectrum analyzer that was used for the data acquisition.
The field hockey stick was tested first without the damper, and then with the damper wedged snugly into the top of the shaft. Additional tests were performed with the bottom of the vibration damper at approximately three and six inches from the top of the shaft. In addition, tests were performed with two vibration dampers disposed in the shaft in the three different positions: at approximately the top of the shaft, at approximately three inches from the top of the shaft, and at approximately six inches from the top of the shaft.
Frequency spectra for these tests were recorded to the analyzer. Frequency spectra (which show the distribution of vibration energy across a structure's vibrational mode frequency range) were generated by repeatedly hitting the stick with a small hard-rubber-headed hammer for a period of about 30 seconds. This test was repeated twice over each of the frequency ranges investigated (0-500 Hz, 0-100 Hz, 0-50 Hz) to check for consistency. Time histories were also recorded, showing the transient response of the stick to being struck by the hammer.
In a first series of tests, an undamped field hockey stick exhibited a countable set of frequencies at which it responded. Vibration peaks were evident at the following frequencies: 5 Hz, 56 Hz, 109 Hz, 156 Hz, 211 Hz, 221 Hz, 276 Hz, 324 Hz, 428 Hz, 439 Hz, and 491 Hz. The most significant response was at 109 Hz.
In a corresponding damped stick with a damper wedged snugly into the top of the shaft, the vibration peaks occurred at 5 Hz, 109 Hz, and 276 Hz, with the vibrations at the other frequencies (of the undamped stick) largely suppressed. The peak at 109 Hz was shifted more to the left, and was closer in magnitude to the undamped spectral peaks, which is presumably consistent with a lowering of that peak due to the addition of the mass.
In a second series of tests, an undamped field hockey stick exhibited significant vibration at frequencies of around 118 Hz and 331 Hz. The vibration amplitude peaks at these frequencies are responsible for the uncomfortable “buzz” typically felt by players using field hockey sticks, especially composite sticks.
In contrast, corresponding damped sticks constructed according to different embodiments of the present invention significantly suppressed the vibration amplitude peaks at the 118 Hz and 331 Hz frequencies. In the case of a single damper, reduction of the vibration amplitude peaks at the 118 Hz and 331 Hz frequencies was most effectively achieved with the vibration damper positioned at the top location. The locations at three inches and six inches from the top of the shaft were progressively less effective in suppressing the vibration amplitude peaks at the 118 Hz and 331 Hz frequencies, but still provided beneficial damping over the undamped stick.
In the case of two vibration dampers, reduction of vibration amplitude peak at 118 Hz was effectively achieved with the dampers at all locations. For 331 Hz, the top location best suppressed the peak, with the locations at three inches and six inches from the top of the shaft less effective, but still providing benefits over the undamped stick.
Comparing the one damper embodiment to the two damper embodiment, the tests showed that, at the three inch location, two dampers appear more effective than one in suppressing the vibration amplitude peak at the 118 Hz frequency. At the top location, the tests showed that one damper appears slightly more effective than two dampers in suppressing the vibration amplitude peak at 118 Hz.
Thus, the experiments showed that, by suppressing vibration amplitude peaks at certain frequencies, the vibration damping field hockey stick of the present invention improves performance. Suppressing these peaks minimizes the uncomfortable “buzz” of a field hockey stick. The level of this “buzz” is a principal determining factor in a stick's acceptability among players.
The foregoing disclosure of the preferred embodiments of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise forms disclosed. Many variations and modifications of the embodiments described herein will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the above disclosure. The scope of the invention is to be defined only by the claims, and by their equivalents.
Further, in describing representative embodiments of the present invention, the specification may have presented the method and/or process of the present invention as a particular sequence of steps. However, to the extent that the method or process does not rely on the particular order of steps set forth herein, the method or process should not be limited to the particular sequence of steps described. As one of ordinary skill in the art would appreciate, other sequences of steps may be possible. Therefore, the particular order of the steps set forth in the specification should not be construed as limitations on the claims. In addition, the claims directed to the method and/or process of the present invention should not be limited to the performance of their steps in the order written, and one skilled in the art can readily appreciate that the sequences may be varied and still remain within the spirit and scope of the present invention.
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|U.S. Classification||473/520, 473/560|
|International Classification||A63B59/00, A63B59/12|
|Cooperative Classification||A63B60/54, A63B2102/22, A63B59/70|
|European Classification||A63B59/12, A63B59/00V|
|Jul 11, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: STX, LLC, MARYLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LEMIRE, LAURA E.;SHERMAN, KENNETH;REEL/FRAME:014267/0922;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030627 TO 20030630
|Mar 23, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Apr 17, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WM. T. BURNETT IP, LLC,MARYLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STX, LLC;REEL/FRAME:022552/0834
Effective date: 20081231
|Mar 14, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8